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Sunday, October 15, 2017

My Thoughts: Amid the Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener


Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.

Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.

No pressure or anything.

Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.


**Review copy received from publisher for my honest review**


I liked this book. There I said it. I wasn't expecting to like it. I thought it would be okay, if not a bit lame. Boy was I wrong. Amid the Stars and Darkness reminded me a bit of the Marissa Meyer's the Lunar Chronicles (a la Scarlet/Cress meets True Blood (sort of ). 

This is Delaney's story as she is taken from Earth by some aliens (who basically look human and have recently been outed), transported to an alien planet (by mistake) and then forced to impersonate their dodgy princess. Oh and she's supposed to ascend to the throne and marry a dude she's not very fond of. The only real friend she has is in her trusty protector/love interest Ruckus, who is pretty swoony. So, here is this poor girl, being forced to do something she wasn't expecting to do, cause if she doesn't, she may very well die.

As I mentioned earlier, I really found myself enjoying this book. I was entertained and I was invested enough to want to keep reading and find out how things were going to play out. I really enjoyed the world building, I would say this book is sci-fi light- as in, if you're interested in trying sci-fi, this would be a good place to start. I felt like the plot was well rounded and developed. 

With all that I enjoyed with this book. I have to tell you it's probably not a stellar piece of material. There were some incredibly corny moments (like boarder line cringe worthy).  The relationship development between Delaney and Trystan was a little unrealistic- he went from trying to kill her, to being kind of enamored by her pretty quickly, which was, admittedly, a little wishy-washy. But, at the time, I kind of didn't care, I loved how over dramatized and over the top everything was. However, this is not going to be the case for everyone. I can totally see how some people would really have a lot of issued with this book.

Overall, I enjoyed Amid the Stars and Darkness, and I am actually pretty excited for the sequel (which was recently announced), Between Frost and Fury. I want to know what's going to happen with these characters that I so enjoyed.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Stefanie's Top Ten Tuesday On a Thursday part Three & September Recap

Hey everyone,


So I couldn't resist this week's Top Ten List: Top Ten Book Boyfriends
Count me in!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish.

1) Oliver Wood from Harry Potter- So it's very obvious from my previous posts that Oliver Wood was my first- and really only- book boyfriend. He's obsession with Quidditch was hilarious- to the point that he didn't care if Harry's broom harmed him- it was after all, a FIREBOLT! This probably strengthened after re-reading the entire series and my immense excitement about the illustrated third book, we FINALLY get a representation of the Quidditch Cup (still not over that being cut from the movie tbh.) His cameo in book seven was the best. 

2) Aston Hyde Bettencourt from Girls Who Travel- English and in one of my favorite books equals swoon worthy book boyfriend.

3) The guy from Once Upon a Wine- Beth Kendrick makes such swoon worthy male characters, that honestly any of her characters are book boyfriends of mine. If you haven't read any of her books I recommend them.

4) Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them- I mean he's a Hufflepuff and loves animals. Perfection!

5) Dylan from A Potion to Die For- Not only did he have to put up with Carly's crazy family and shenanigans, but he's a police officer and with Carly getting caught up in crime...well I mean that makes him swoon worthy

6) Michael from The Princess Dairies series- He might actually have been my very second book crush. He's portrayed way better in the book series (then again, he's not even in the second movie) and I love reading about him and Mia is both Royal Wedding and the children's spin-off series From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess

Bonus mention:

Jamie Fraser from Outlander- So I haven't read the books, but I've seen the show on Netflix so do I need to say more? Scottish swoon at its finest. 



September Wrap-Up 

I have another group Halloween costume going on at work and that was finalized with all the characters in the last couple days. I'm SUPER excited about it again, but I'm not sharing what we're doing; it'll be a surprise! I'm super ready for the cooler weather, the autumn colour leaves and my birthday. I may be biased but October is the best month! 

Going back to work was a little nuts; having those two months off then going full speed ahead in a junior high was crazy. I'm finally back into it now, but after a month I guess that's to be expected. 

I mainly re-read Harry Potter in September, but here's a complete list:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows

Quidditch Through the Ages

Tales of Beetle the Bard

Murder She Barked by Krista Davis

Dearest by Alethea Kontis

Bite the Biscuit by Linda O. Johnson

Changes in Latitude by Jen Malone

Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

(12 total)


Books of the Month:

      

(One month I might be able to choose just one!)

I started watching Outlander on Netflix (currently on episode twelve), watched a ton of movies before I started my October Scary & Halloween movies (my favorite watches would have to be The Peanuts Movie, Life as We Know It, and the couple Harry Potter films I re-watched). I need to watch Fuller House season three eventually, only heard good things about this season.

And that's my September; it's actually been really fun looking back at my month when I write these posts. Goodbye September, Hello October.

See you all next week,

Stefanie



  

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Sara's August/September Recap





Hi peeps!

I am SO excited to be sitting here typing this for you tonight. An hour ago, my computer was dead and  I was trying to figure out how I was going to buy a new one. But I live with a very handy teenager (NOT MINE) who happens to really enjoy working on these little devices and got mine working again. I was one happy camper!!

I totally skipper August's bookish recap, so I am going to add the book I read/listened t here. I am going to forego the life update- because there really isn't one. But I am eager to share with you all of the books!


The Books- August 2017

Total Books
11 

Physical Books
5

Audiobooks
6


Physical Books 

1) Three Little Mistakes By Nikki Sloane (3.5 Stars)
2) Alex, Approximately By Jenn Bennett (3.5 Stars)
3) Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (4 Stars)
4) Amid Stars and Darkness by Chani Lynn Feener (4.25 Stars)
5) The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson (4 Stars)



Favourite Read





This one surprised me. I was fully entertained. While I don't think it's this amazing epic story, it was very enjoyable and well written. I am very much looking forward to it's sequel. 


Audiobooks 

1) The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan (4 Stars)
2) Buns by by Alice Clayton (3 Stars)
3) Craving by Helen Hardt (2.5 Stars)
4) The Next Always by Nora Roberts (4 Stars)
5) Hollywood Scandal by Louise Bay (3.5 Stars)
6) The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (5 Stars)

 

Favourite Listen

 

This book, this book. One of my favourite books of this year. Top 5 of life maybe. 
I don't know what more I can say about this book, other than please read it. You will not be disappointed.


September 

Total Books
9

Physical Books
4

Audiobooks
5


Physical Books: 

1) The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (4.5 Stars)
2) A Million Junes by Emily Henry (5 Stars)
3) Into the Wild by John Krakauer (4 Stars)
4) Broken Prince by Erin Watt (1 Star) 

Favourite Read





April Henry's writer is incredible. This book was fantastic. I am pretty convinced that magical realism is my preferred genre. I love it. A Million Junes was just beautiful. I think she may just be an auto-buy author for me now. 


The Audiobooks

1) A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab (unsure)
2) Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (4.5 Stars) 
3) The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry (3 Stars)
4) Wicked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo (3.5 Stars?) 
5) Wicked Favor by Sawyer Bennett (3 Stars) 



Favourite Listen





I like this series. Sorry. It's SO much fun to read. I get completely engrossed in what's going on, and before I know it, it's over!! This was no different. I am a bit bitter that Tower of Dawn exists and that this series isn't done yet, but I'll get to it (probably next year). 


I think this is where I am going to leave the wrap up. I can't believe we only have three more months left in this year.  I am hoping to read 6 physical books on October, that would be great, and maybe listen to three of my audiobook back log. I got it down to 13 books last month (from 18).  

Anywho, that is all. 

~Happy Reading Everyone!




Friday, September 29, 2017

Stefanie's Top Ten Tuesdays On a Thursday Part Two

Hi everyone,

Because I had so much fun doing this last week I thought I'd do it again; especially with having finished Harry Potter and not having a book to review (I'll be reviewing one next week, only a quarter done it currently; it's really good so far and I can't wait to review it).




     This week I'll be doing a Top Ten Books I Liked More/ Less Than I Thought I Would





Take the Key and Lock Her Up by Ally Carter

Did not like.

Ally Carter is one of my favorite authors, but there was something about this series that was just, well, boring. I could barely get through book two, but this one took me a MONTH to read. A month; that never happens.  While the cover is beautiful, the content inside was just complaining and whining.

This was the biggest letdown, but I have high hopes for Carter's next book, which sounds really interesting!!








Mind Games by Kiersten White

I loved Paranormalcy so I thought yes to this book, because the plot was something so different from what I normally read.

Except this was a flop for me too.

I couldn't get into it after chapter two and I was so confused after that chapter; I normally like when the book starts in the middle of the action, but I felt more background was needed for the beginning.








Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Let me state this: I don't read romance. Something about all the positive reviews on this made me get the audio book, and boy did I ever enjoy it. The narrator was hilarious and I'm honestly thinking about getting the second one in this series.

Win!









The Choices We Make by Karma Brown

Supporting Canadian authors is something I try really hard to do and I read her first book and got this one from the library.

While I ended up sobbing by the end and staying up until 2:30 AM to finish it, I really enjoyed it. It was so well written that I immediately went and put a hold on her third book.

Win! But be warned, you will probably tear up reading this.







Hello, Sunshine by Laura Dave

SO FREAKING GOOD!

I wasn't sure about this one going in; I was intrigued by the title and got it from my library. It's now on my to-buy list.

I'm also currently in possession of her first book Eight Hundred Grapes from the library. It'll have to wait until I get through my spooky October reads though.

WIN TIMES FOUR!







Bell, Book & Candlemas by Jennifer David Hesse

I wasn't that thrilled with the first book, but knew I wanted to continue to see what the series had to offer. Glad I did, because this book was a vast improvement to book one.

This one felt like a good cozy; great characters, connections to the community where everyone wants to help one another and that small town feeling.

Win!




Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock

This premise was tailor-made for me; friends to a relationship. Except the execution of it sucked.

I can honestly say this wasn't at all the book I was hoping it was going to be.

This was a flop.






Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl

This was an impulse grab at the library; I really liked the synopsis and the cover was catchy. I liked how the book was laid out through blog posts and such, but that's about all I liked. If there's such a thing it was too sarcastic, which I honestly didn't think was a thing for m.

Flop for me.



When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill

I love Liz Czukas' books, love them enough to get the library I work at to buy them for the collection. Going in I thought this would be a cut book in the vein of Boomerang; not so much.

Was really disappointed with it.







Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

This was a complete surprise! I had read Hedlund's young adult novels and wanted to give this one a try. I enjoyed it so much! Such a cute and fluffy historical tale, with just a dash of romance.

I've read historical before but mostly that was set in medieval times and I watch a lot of historical movies/ TV shows (ahem, Outlander, just the TV show though), so this was nice to add to my read shelf and enjoy it so much!






After composing this Top Ten List I actually noticed how diverse my read goes. I pick my books mostly on moods and I'll typically read 5 cozy mysteries in a row and not want to read anymore for a month after.

What are some of the books you loved/ disliked more than you thought you would; I'm curious to know!

Until my next review,

Stefanie

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday (on a Thursday): Books On Stefanie's Fall TBR

 Hi everyone,

I thought I'd do a Top Ten  post, but because I post on Thursdays I figured why not change it to Thursday, I mean they both start with T's so that works right!

Why not get into the spirit early by listing the Top Ten books I want to read during the fall, before I go crazy and try to read as many Christmas/ Winter/ Holiday themed books I can get. I should probably note that most of these books will have a creepy feel to them because they are mostly Halloween(ish) themed.

Again, I am here with a Top Ten Tuesday. I was particularly intrigued by this week's topic.  Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish.

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR, in No Particular Order

The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand

This book involves ghosts, weird shadows and a creepy setting so perfect for my Halloween reading. There's not just one ghost, but four, and they need Olivia, our main character's help to save them before they are stuck as ghosts forever.

I love the concept of this one and it's a more middle-grade read, so I know this one won't keep me up at night scared...as too many people have told me to see the new It movie, but I think I'll happily decline that offer.




Death by Pumpkin Spice Latte by Alex Erikson



Cozy mysteries that are Halloween themed are my favourite! This one takes place inside a bookstore, because you can't get more perfect than that. I haven't read the first couple books of this series, and this one is book three, but I can't wait to read it.

Bookstore café owner Krissy Hancock would rather spend Halloween serving pumpkin goodies than wearing costumes with Pine Hills’ wealthiest at Yarborough mansion, especially when the soiree shapes up to be more trick than treat . . 




Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy by Serena Valentino  

Disney = the perfect Halloween

The couple books in this series have either been hit or misses, I loved the first one about the Wicked Queen, the Beasts' story was changed way too much and I think I was indifferent about Ursula's. Hopefully this one will be just as great as the Wicked Queen's!  








Midnight at Madame Leota's by Amicus Arcane 

The first book in this series was great; spooktastic (that's a word now) stories fit for a younger audience, or me.  

The Haunted Mansion's resident librarian, Amicus Arcane, has returned with another set of spooky stories to share. Follow along with him as he tells new terrifying tales while leading the Mansion's newest visitor to a secret séance with the mysterious Madame Leota. 



Ghost and Mrs. Mewer by Krista Davis

Another cozy Halloween themed read. I've read a couple other books from this series, not in order, but I reserved this copy from the library specifically around this time so I could read it in October. 

Wagtail, Virginia, the top pet-friendly getaway in the United States, is gearing up for a howling good Halloween—until a spooky murder shakes the town to its core . . .






Masking for Trouble by Diane Vallere

I read the first book in the series and thought it was an alright read; however I'm super pumped to read this one. That cover is just so adorable. Even though this one was released last year, I figured it's never too late to read it. 

Halloween brings more tricks than treats for costume shop owner Margo Tamblyn in the second in a new cozy series.







The Black Cat Sees His Shadow by Kay Finch

Just look at that cover! Black cats and a cozy mystery, perfecto! 

Mystery novelist Sabrina Tate and her cat, Hitchcock, set out to catch a conniving killer in the next Bad Luck Cat mystery from the author of The Black Cat Knocks on Wood and Black Cat Crossing...








Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather


Have you guys the first book to this series? I actually thought it was a standalone, until I heard of this sequel, yes please!!! 

I've been fascinated by the legend of the Titanic for a very long time (even if that included my friends at the time laughing at me for crying during the epic flood scene in the Titanic movies. Side note: we're not friends anymore, but not for that. Just grew apart after high school) and this book sounds it's going to be just as great as the first one.


The Titanic meets the delicious horror of Ransom Riggs and the sass of Mean Girls in this follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller How to Hang a Witch, in which a contemporary teen finds herself a passenger on the famous “ship of dreams”—a story made all the more fascinating because the author’s own relatives survived the doomed voyage.

Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

I received an ARC of this and I'm excited to read this one. I haven't read any of the authors previous books, but this cover and the synopsis had me hooked and very intrigued.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.




One Hundred Candles by Mara Purnhagen 

My one re-read of this (still on a mission to see how many re-reads I can get this year, even though I'm nowhere near 52)

This is a great spooky feeling book series (I re-read book one last year and still loved it). All about a family of paranormal investigators! 

It's taken a long time for me to feel like a normal teenager. But now that I'm settled in a new school, where people know me as more than Charlotte Silver of the infamous Silver family paranormal investigators, it feels like everything is falling into place. And what better way to be normal than to go on a date with a popular football star like Harris Abbott? After all, it's not as if Noah is anything more than a friend….




And there's my Top Ten Fall reads on my TBR. I'm curious to see what everyone has planned for their fall/ Halloween reads! 

Until my next review,

Stefanie

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall TBR






Whelp, it seems TTTs are the only kind of blog posts I am capable of these days- oh well. I love them and you should do. This week is a gooder.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the ladies over at The Broke and Bookish.



Top Ten Book on My Fall TBR

1) Wild Beauty by Anna-Maria McLemore
Magical realism is quickly becoming my thing. When I talk about my top five favourite books, a good chunk would be magical realism. So, when I hear those two words I am in. Also, this story just sounds amazing. I am VERY excited to get my hands on this one. 

This cover though... 






2) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Two works- Gothic Romance.  Jane Eyre is one of the seven (?) books on my 2017 TBR, and I haven't read it yet. But I feel like I have been waiting for fall. To me, it's the perfect October read. 

3) The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey 
I was challenged to read this book YEARS ago by Aylee from Recovering Potter Addict. I admit I am a bit chicken and was a bit worried I would be to scared to actually read it. Buuuuuuut, I've matured these last few years and I think I can get through it. Again, I feel like this book is perfect for fall. 



4) Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo 
I love anything Grisha. Bardugo has created such a magical world and I am excited to read their folklore.
 

5) The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski
I have an ARC of this book, and I have been wanting to read it, but something keeps getting in the way. However, I feel like it's a perfect autumn read. So, I think I finally have the motivation. 




6) Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips 
The last number of years, I have been getting into thrillers more and more - and I think they're perfect for fall. Fierce Kingdom is a majorly hyped book these past few months and I am totally falling for it. 

 7) The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
I want this book in my life. I've heard is described as a feel good sci-fi novel. Sounds like my sup of tea. 


8) Bird Box by Josh Malerman 
This books sounds SO trippy. I've seen a number of people talk about it. And I am dyyyyyying to read it. It's not a long book (under 300 pages), I don't know why I haven't read it yet. But I am eager. 

9) Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore 
This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and I am still so excited to get it read.  The synopsis makes it sound so very mysterious. 





10) The Child by Fiona Barton 
I have had a few friends read this one already and really enjoy it. Again, thrillers are something I have been enjoying more and more and I am looking forward to checking this one out. 


Well there you have it, my FALL 2017 TBR. I enjoyed coming out this list and I anticipate a couple 5 star reads in my future. 

~Happy Reading Everyone. 



Monday, September 11, 2017

Stefanie's Summer Vacation Recap

Hi everyone,



Keeping with the theme of working in a school and that dreaded first day essays typically found in movies this is my What I Did on My Summer Vacation.


 I think that this post will be a bit more fun than those first day essays!



I read a TON of books; which was pretty awesome in my opinion. I started re-reading the Harry Potter series, based on my sister having done this (she actually just finished the series a couple days ago) and I was even able to convince one of my friends (who HATED reading) to not only start the series, sort herself in Pottermore (she got Hufflepuff, the best house ever! I hope I didn't just start a battle of the Hogwarts Houses ;)), and agree to watch all the movies afterwards. Mission successful!






   
















Here's what I did read over the summer:



Engaged in Death by Stephanie Blackmore

The Way She Wears It by Dallas Shaw

Literally by Lucy Keating

Murder Most Howl by Krista Davis

About a Dog by Jenn McKinlay

Death By Chocolate Lab by Bethany Blake

Bell, Book & Candlemas by Jennifer David Hesse

Ballerina Body by Misty Copeland

Bearly Departed by Meg Macy

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Maple Mayhem by Jessie Crockett

Public Relations by Katie Heaney

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Pecan Pies and Homicides by Ellery Adams

Girl out Of Water by Laura Silverman

Pulled Under: a Sixteenth Summer novel by Michelle Dalton

Royal Tour by Amy Alward

Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Radical Self Love by Gala Darling

Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock

Swept Away: a Sixteenth Summer novel by Michelle Dalton












                                                      Book of the Summer: 











I loved this book; it was so cute and I love Jenn McKinlay's cozy mysteries so I knew I would have to read her first book in contemporary romance (which is an amazing thing for me because I really don't read romance books). I think the reason I enjoyed this one so much was because yes, it involved romance, but the whole book wasn't about it.


All the Movies: I'm pretty sure I watched about two movies a day and to be honest, I don't think I could list all of them, plus that would be pretty boring for me to list them.

Instead I'll share with you about what I did (that wasn't reading).



I went to the Birds Hill Park, Fun Mountain, Lower Fort Garry, Assiniboine Park Zoo, a ton of Goldeyes baseball games, my best friend got married, learned to make sushi by hand, went on a ton of walks, and got a really nice tan. I don't think I've actually ever been darker than this summer. I also was able to visit the town that was named after my great-grandfather; he was the first teacher there and I guess named it after him for that? Either way it was really cool to visit there, even if the actual town doesn't have anything other than a church and a hall, but I was able to get a picture of the plaque explaining how the school kids would walk to walk across a river just to go to school. It made me really think about how little things like going to school was taken for granted, when these kids would have to walk over an hour to go to school.






 
Lower Fort Garry and the Goldeyes game, where it was Goldie's birthday


 
Nature photo because I really got into that this year and that plaque of the sign 

Overall I would say I had an excellent summer. The weather even allowed me to be outside for most days and it really hit me when the end of August came around and I realized I had to go back to work. Here's to a great September, after all autumn is my favourite season! Bring on the pumpkin spice lattes!



 



"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl